Regardless of where your position lies in the sales industry, there’s an overarching cloud of cold-calling that hovers above you. Whether you’re on the receiving end of the phone calls as a VP of sales, or if you’re the Account Manager having to call several companies per week, you understand the headache. We recently sat down with our Chief Marketing Officer at Criterion.B, Shanker Chalekode, to gain a better understanding as to how cold calling is proving to be less effective.
The Problem With Cold Calls Today
In the age of the internet, many unsolicited calls go unanswered. Modern sales and marketing professionals are faced with going up against buyers who have easy and unlimited access to detailed information online. However, time and time again, we see industry professionals that can’t seem to shake the old-school approach. Something to keep in mind is that consumers are not the only ones with access to the internet. You can also use it to stay updated on your target customer’s issues and to formulate ways to resolve these issues. Shanker elaborates further on this:
“When you have market information and big data analytics, you have more insight as to what the issues or problems are that are occurring with your customer base. What you are able to do [at that] time is take away any aspect of cold calling, and it becomes either a warm or a hot lead at that point. You’re actually redefining cold calling altogether by having the ability to have content out there. At that point they are coming to you, you’re not going to them.”
As a data-driven agency, we understand the power in numbers. Here’s our breakdown of the leading causes that led to the cold call’s decline:
- Real estate agents made 6,264 cold calls and found that only 28% were answered
- Of this 28%, the agents booked a total of 19 appointments with prospective clients, and landed 11 referrals
- In other words, for every 209 calls made, 1 appointment or referral was made
- Note: This is not to say cold calling is dead, as that would imply there’s zero response rate
- Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing methods and generates three times as many leads (drives higher conversion rates)
- 30 engaged seconds–informing, educating, and entertaining your customer–can create a lead
Content is the New Cold Call
Outbound sales initiatives, while they used to be effective, are no longer the best route to convert leads to customers. Inbound marketing provides individuals with information about your company and allows them to develop their own opinions. In fact, 61 percent of consumers say that they are more comfortable and are more likely to buy from a company that provides them with custom content. Cold calling is considered to be an outbound strategy; it is company focused and assumes that every customer is a buyer. It can be transformed into an inbound strategy by calling with the intent of getting to know the customer and their needs in order to move forward in their purchase process.
While the internet provides a great deal of information, it’s losing the aspect of human interaction. Chalekode comments on the growing relevance of the web in the consumer buying process:
“Long-term, I think what we are seeing, especially with the web, is that every individual can do their own research and find out information without having to have a point of contact call them for their initial understanding your business. That is where content becomes King as far as the web is concerned…”
Because customers are resorting to the internet to answer all of their questions, it is important for your company to meet them there. Provide them with a helping hand, and if calling is something you prefer, direct them to your phone number to get more information on how you can help them.
So how will modern businesses seek to increase sales without their tried-and-true method of cold calling? Begin by building value-adding relationships. With networking, the goal is not to get something out of the deal, but rather to increase the number of people who know and trust you. If you do well at networking, you should be able to land public speaking opportunities. Establishing yourself as an authority on certain topics will lead to an even larger group of people who trust you and come to your company as a resource.
Likewise, writing is one of the easiest avenues to build a sense of authority. Submit an article to a publisher for a magazine or newspaper that you know your customers will read, or create your own blog. Furthermore, you don’t have to always publish your own work—reposting another blog by a reputable source will help gain attention as well as credibility.
Lastly, take the time to genuinely reach out to customers, old and new. In order to increase sales and grow your business, the relationships you build from the beginning will be at the core of your business. It’s as simple as that. People are willing to pay a higher price when they know they are getting good service. Therefore, good customer service leads to a higher lease!
Cold calling may be on the decline, but there are plenty of other strategies you can use to increase sales and attract new customers. Remember, it doesn’t matter which strategy you use, as long as you treat the customer with the utmost importance.